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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments


Some Fort Wayne bar owners say their business has dropped significantly since the city's near-total ban on smoking, a not unsurprising development since the county and some nearby communities such as New Haven have less-restrictive bans. The mayor doesn't even want to hear it, but some City Council members at least pretend to care:

Councilman Tom Hayhurst said he told bar owners they need to bring clear evidence their businesses are suffering, such as sales-tax data, to the council. He said he would consider an exception in the ban for bars if they can prove the adverse effects.

Does anybody else find this remarkable and appalling? Forget that the issue is smoking and consider what it says about government today. Once upon a time, we believed that public officials would come around at election time and try to get re-elected by telling us all the good they had done. Now, they demand that we prove to them that what they've done hasn't caused harm, then maybe they'll consider undoing the harm.


Bob G.
Wed, 07/11/2007 - 8:41am

I think the city/county councils' arrogance in this matter speaks VOLUMES....not to mention the mayor saying he'll VETO any change to the smoking ban...

Hey guys...you're all civil SERVANTS...time to listen to the PEOPLE who OWN the MANOR, and remember where YOUR places are, eh?


Wed, 07/11/2007 - 1:49pm

From what I can see no one is enforcing this ban anyway. As I drove down Main St this am I happened to look over and see two County Deputies in uniform, in front of the Courthouse, smoking . . yes smoking. Not 8 ft from the door, not 20 feet from the door, but right in front of it, if you had to enter they would have been in your way. . . So what is the point?

Steve T.
Sat, 07/14/2007 - 2:02am

On the contrary, REMEMBER that the issue is smoking and consider what that says about government and business today.

A major public health improvement has been in force less than 60 days and Tom Hayhurst is talking cut-n-run if businesses can show a dip in sales taxes? It looks bad, Tom.

The People, as we call them, have already enjoyed a few welcome weeks of very real results. The health benefits for the public at large are bound to increase with time. The City Council has done a good thing for Fort Wayne's future, and the Mayor is helping the council shore up their courage now, it seems.

Tell Tom H. it's a marathon, not a sprint, about public health, not profit & loss -- least of all as measured by lost government sales tax revenue. Tom really stepped in it when he mentioned lower tax revenue in the same breath with cold feet on public health. I know he is trying to propose some reasonable way to weigh data, but it looks bad anyhow. Especially since the ink is hardly dry.

We can't expect to offer anything sensible or persuasive about the new law unless we REMEMBER we are talking about smoking at all times.

It's clear that predictable factions of critics of the new law would like us to balance the critical risks to humans of exposure to tobacco smoke against comparatively meaner concerns: profits, taxes, and addicts whose habits initiate fight-or-flight panic at any of restriction to access.

There are issues in which these other arguments can carry more weight, but this isn't such an issue. Smokers may hold their breath until they turn blue, but the health benefits are real for the public as a whole, and the difficulties will pass for the fearful and the disgruntled.

Tom Hayhurst's waffling talk this week only threatens to extend the period of adjustment we all fully expected. The law passed for many, many important reasons. Better remember all of them, and run down the list to keep it fresh, if entertaining the notion of further recrimination.